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God’s Blessing, God’s Covenant with Noah, and Canaan’s Curse

God blessed Noah and his sons. God promised that never again will all life be cut off by the waters of a flood. Cursed were Canaan and his descendants.

Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth. Genesis 9:1

The command to be fruitful and multiply was given to both the man and the woman in the Garden of Eden. After the flood, the command was given only to Noah and his sons and not to their wives. After sin entered into the world, part of the curse was that the husband would rule over the wife. Man was given authority over the household. He was not only to take on the responsibility of fathering children but then to provide for and protect the family.

God blessed Noah and his sons by saying that they should have children and populate the earth.

Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; they shall not be ashamed, but shall speak with their enemies in the gate. Psalm 127:3-5

Although Scripture emphatically asserts that children are a blessing from God, today many men are impregnating women and then pressuring them to abort their unborn children. Another tragedy occurs when these unplanned pregnancies do come to full term, but men fail to fulfill their duties as fathers. The children born to an unwed mother are under a curse.

A bastard shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to his tenth generation shall he not enter into the congregation of the LORD. Deuteronomy 23:2

When a child is conceived by unwed parents, the pregnancy is a result of an act of lust and not love. A child conceived by parents who love one another enough to sanctify their relationship through holy matrimony will more likely protect and provide for their child. When an illegitimate child is birthed, demons of lust will follow all children of this line.

The fear and dread of you will fall upon all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air, upon every creature that moves along the ground, and upon all the fish of the sea; they are given into your hands. Genesis 9:2

In the Garden of Eden before the fall of man, the animals were docile and ate plants. Adam and Eve had dominion over the animal kingdom but could rule them with gentleness and love. After the flood, in order to protect the reestablishment of mankind on earth, God puts the fear on man upon the all the animals. Animals can be domesticated because of their fear of man. The animals then can serve as modes of transportation by being ridden, as sources of labor for plowing or treading out grain, and for companionship as pets.

Everything that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything. “But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it. Genesis 9:3-4

Both clean and unclean animals were taken upon the ark. There was a distinction made concerning animals that were deemed fit for sacrifice to God and those which were not. God declared that all animals would be food for man after the flood. Yet, there would be a future distinction made between God’s Chosen People and those who were not His. The diet of the Israelites who would descend from Shem would be restricted to clean animals while the diet of Noah’s other two sons would include unclean animals.

The restriction concerning not eating meat with blood in it was later stated as a command of the Torah according to Leviticus 17:11-12: For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life. Therefore I say to the Israelites, “None of you may eat blood, nor may an alien living among you eat blood.”

Deuteronomy 12:23 states: But be sure you do not eat the blood, because the blood is the life, and you must not eat the life with the meat.

The life of both men and animals is in their blood. The animal to be sacrificed was to have its life blood drained out to be poured upon the altar. Therefore, the Israelites and any foreigners residing among them were forbidden to eat blood.

Concerning prohibitions for the new Gentile believers the Jerusalem Council restated the restriction according to Acts 15:20: Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood.

The prohibition against eating blood originally spoken to Noah and his son’s was later given to the Israelites and to the Church.

And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each man, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of his fellow man. “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man.” Genesis 9:5-6

Once again, the restrictions and penalties that were given to Noah and his sons were reinstated in the Law of Moses:

“‘If anyone takes the life of a human being, he must be put to death. Anyone who takes the life of someone’s animal must make restitution—life for life. If anyone injures his neighbor, whatever he has done must be done to him: fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth. As he has injured the other, so he is to be injured. Whoever kills an animal must make restitution, but whoever kills a man must be put to death. Leviticus 24:17-21

The phrase, fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth represented a principle and was not actually required nor is there any record of it have been literally carried out. The concept was that the penalty should fit the crime and not exceed the offense. The penalty is not a matter of extracting vengeance but of administrating true justice.

When an animal belonging to another person was killed, the offender made restitution by replacing the animal with another of equal value or paying the price for the animal. But when a man who was made in the image of God was murdered, the offender was to be put to death. There is no price that can equal the life of a man except the life of another man.

“As for you, be fruitful and increase in number; multiply on the earth and increase upon it.” Genesis 9:7

God’s blessing to Noah and his sons was so important that it is also restated as a direct command to them.

Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him: “I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you and with every living creature that was with you—the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you—every living creature on earth. I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be cut off by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.” Genesis 9:8-11

The promise of God clearly evidences that this was not a local flood. Never again will ALL life be cut off by the waters of a flood. Never again will there be a flood to destroy the EARTH. If it were only a local flood as skeptics claim, why didn’t Noah and his family just move to another location? If it were only a local flood, why were the dimensions of the Ark so large that it could accommodate such a large number and variety of animals?

And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”

So God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth.” Genesis 9:12-17

A sign is of a covenant was a visible seal or an emblem that served as a reminder of the covenant commitments and promises. Circumcision was the sign of the Abrahamic Covenant and the Sabbath day was the sign of the Sinaitic Covenant made with Israel. The rainbow was the sign of the Noahic Covenant. Since there have been many local and regional floods since the days of Noah, the rainbow must be a sign that there will never again be a worldwide flood.

and no shrub of the field had yet appeared on the earth and no plant of the field had yet sprung up, for the Lord God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no man to work the ground, but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground. Genesis 2:5-6

There were no rainbows before the Flood because the earth had never experienced rain until God’s judgment. Up until the time of the Flood, the earth was watered by underground streams.

The sons of Noah who came out of the ark were Shem, Ham and Japheth. (Ham was the father of Canaan.) These were the three sons of Noah, and from them came the people who were scattered over the earth. Genesis 9:18-19

Shem means name or renown in Hebrew. In fact, observant Jews not wanting to use the name of the LORD in vain will refer to Yahweh as HaShem which, when the Hebrew is translated, literally means “The Name.” Shem would be renown since through his line would come both the nation of Israel and the Messiah.

Ham means “warm” and may be prophetic name because many of the descendants of Ham would occupy Africa as well as the land of Canaan.

Japheth means “to enlarge.” Japheth was indeed “enlarged” to an exceptional degree in his descendants, both in the number of nations ultimately derived from his family and in their very wide spread over the face of the earth.

Noah, a man of the soil, proceeded to plant a vineyard. When he drank some of its wine, he became drunk and lay uncovered inside his tent. Ham, the father of Canaan, saw his father’s nakedness and told his two brothers outside. But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it across their shoulders; then they walked in backward and covered their father’s nakedness. Their faces were turned the other way so that they would not see their father’s nakedness. Genesis 9:20-23

Nakedness in the Old Testament was from the beginning a thing of shame for fallen man. As a result of the Fall, the eyes of Adam and Eve were opened, and knowing they were naked, they covered themselves. To them as sinners the state of nakedness was undignified, shameful and vulnerable. The covering of nakedness was a sound instinct for it provided a boundary for fallen human relations. Nakedness thereafter represented the loss of human and social dignity. To be exposed meant to be unprotected; this can be seen by the fact that the horrors of the Judah’s exile to Babylon are couched in the image of shameful nakedness.

Nakedness is also a punishment to be meted out to the enemies of God:

You came out to deliver your people, to save your anointed one. You crushed the leader of the land of wickedness, you stripped him from head to foot. Habakkuk 3:13

Rejoice and be glad, O Daughter of Edom, you who live in the land of Uz. But to you also the cup will be passed; you will be drunk and stripped naked. Lamentations 4:21

To see someone uncovered was to bring dishonor and to gain advantage for potential exploitation.

When Noah awoke from his wine and found out what his youngest son had done to him, he said, “Cursed be Canaan! The lowest of slaves will he be to his brothers.” Genesis 9:24-25

The curse of slavery was upon Canaan and his descendants. The curse would rest upon the Canaanites who dwelled in ancient Palestine, Phoenicia, and Carthage. The Canaanites detestable practices included idolatry, fornication with temple prostitutes, divination and child sacrifice. The prophecy was fulfilled when the Canaanites were enslaved because of their wickedness by the ancient Israelites – first by Joshua (Joshua 9:23) and later by Solomon (1 Kings 9:20-21). Afterwards, the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, and Egyptians were enslaved by the Persians, Macedonians and finally the Romans.

But why was Noah’s grandson Canaan cursed because of the sin of his father Ham? I think that there are at least two reasons that the curse fell on Canaan. First of all, God foreknew Canaan’s wickedness and how Ham’s disrespectful and dishonoring attitude would wax even worse in Canaan. Secondly, children are to be a blessing and are to honor their parents. Just as Noah’s son Ham did not bring Noah honor but shame, so would Canaan bring dishonor to Ham and not blessing.

He also said, “Blessed be the LORD, the God of Shem! May Canaan be the slave of Shem. May God extend the territory of Japheth; may Japheth live in the tents of Shem, and may Canaan be his slave.” Genesis 9:26-27

Noah blessed the LORD who would be the source of Shem’s blessings. The blessing was stated as, “May Japheth live in the tents of Shem,” which is an idiom for, “May Japheth share in the blessings of Shem.” Shem and Japheth were blessed for honoring their father by loving him enough to not ogle at his nakedness but to cover it.

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8

After the flood Noah lived 350 years. Altogether, Noah lived 950 years, and then he died. Genesis 9:28-29

There are a number of proposed explanations for the decrease in human life spans after the Flood. They range from an increase in the amount of harmful radiation reaching the Earth’s, to changes in the atmosphere’s pressure or composition, or a combination of these factors.

Noah, who was born 600 years before the flood, lived only 350 years after the flood but had a total life span of 950 years, which was only 19 years less than Methuselah. His son Shem, who was born only 98 years before the flood, lived 500 years after the flood but had a total life span of only 598 years, or about 2/3 the life span of his father. This data suggest that the level of physical body maturity at the time of the flood may hold the key to understanding the long life spans of antediluvian mankind. In other words, children remained children for much longer, reached puberty much later, and their bodies stayed much healthier through a greatly extended adulthood.

Support for this assumption comes from the Bible chronology and the notations of when pre-flood men fathered their first offspring. Observe in the “Book of the Generations of Adam” (Genesis chapter 5), the age of listed men and how old they were when they fathered their first children: Seth 105 years, Enos 90 years, Cainan 70 years, Mahalaleel 65 years, Jared 162 years, Enoch 65 years, etc. The pattern tends to indicate that men did not become sexually mature until at least 60 or 70 years of age. Pre-flood men of the age of 50 to 60 years were physiologically equivalent to today’s teenagers.

The Book of Genesis gives us insight on knowing the end from the beginning. Knowing about the Garden of Eden and the life spans of the patriarchs before the Flood will give us insight into the lives of people living during the Millennium.

Peter answered him, “We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?” Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. Matthew 19:27-29

I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. Revelation 20:4

Jesus promised his disciples that at the renewal of all things, all those who have left family or possessions for His sake would receive a hundred-fold as much and inherit eternal life. The Garden of Eden was shut off to mankind and eventually destroyed in the worldwide flood of Noah’s day. Even the oldest person ever to live, Methuselah who lived for 969 years, died short of a thousand years. But when the Lord returns, He will set up His kingdom on earth and we, who are born-again from above, will reign with Him. At that time:

The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. Isaiah11:6-7

During the Millennial Reign of Christ, the holy mountain of the LORD will be the location of the renewed Garden of Eden. For a thousand years, Nation will not take up sword against nation (Isaiah 2:4), because the Prince of Peace will rule with a rod of iron from Zion (Psalm 2:6, 9). For a thousand years, the sovereign LORD declares that Jerusalem, which has been the location of over fifty wars, will finally be a “city of peace.”

I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more. “Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; he who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere youth; he who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed. They will build houses and dwell in them; they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit. Isaiah 65:19-21

For a thousand years, the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea (Isaiah 11:9b). For a thousand years, the elect will receive a hundred-fold blessing as we rule and reign with Christ.